This week, I had
- The shortest job interview of my life
- Two great interviews for completely different skill sets
- A reminder that trains cannot get in my way
To take these three highlights of my week backwards, I’ll start with my stunt. I had a phone appointment to call Jerry Buxbaum, THE stunt-producer in Portland. Everybody in the local film industry knows, “If you want stunts, you call Jerry.” I had an appointment to call him and introduce myself just before an interview on Wednesday morning. (My appointment for each, ironically, was at 10 am.)
I take out my phone to dial his number as I come off the I-84 exit into inner Southeast to see an impossibly long line of cars. That means one thing: TRAIN.
(But, if you’ve paid attention to the foreshadowing, trains don’t stop me.)
My interview was four blocks on the other side of the train tracks. I put the bluetooth headset in my ear, and while in dress clothes and dress shoes, carrying a leatherbound pad that had my resume in it, I walked up to the train and checked its length.
Sure enough, it was REEEEEALLY long. If I waited, I might not make my 10 am interview time. I wanted to be sure, and I’ve got the skills to be sure.
After I dialed Jerry’s number, I put the phone in my pocket and ran in step with the train. I had one hand free to hold the ladder, so I swung the hand holding the planner pad outwards for balance, and stepped across the width of the car, being extra careful in my loose and thin-soled dress shoes.
Jerry’s voicemail picked up while I prepared to jump. I leapt from the train onto the gravel, feeling the rocks pinch the soles of my feet through my soles. I sauntered off to my interview, grinning at the long line of cars, leaving Jerry a message to call me back. A few people in the cars were watching me, open mouthed. I suppose they marveled at my ability to move through obstacles that outright stop so many other people; but that is the greatest gift of Parkour, is the ability to see passageways leading wherever you want to go.
I wanted to describe this experience to Jerry on his voicemail, to introduce myself as a local badass who can do all these amazing things, but I didn’t want to sound too brash. Instead I conveyed my enthusiasm to meet him, and walked into my interview with the highest level of confidence that I was capable of embodying.
They are looking for someone to handle account management, incoming leads, and networking with the local tech community. I can do all that. But here, I would be the most business-friendly sales guy amidst a bunch of creatives.
#2 – My interview at Graphic Products was amazing as well, but there, I would be the creative guy amidst a bunch of businessmen. They are hiring for an Internet Marketing Manager, and that’s exactly the kind of title I would like to have on my resume.
It’s funny how the same overlapping skill set (creative and sales) can put me on one end of the spectrum in one environment, and the opposite end in another environment.
If offered both jobs, I’d be faced with a choice: do I want to be the sales guy? And get to work with really creative people? Or do I want to be the creative guy, myself, and get to do all the fun stuff?
Tough choice. But either way, I know I don’t want to work with
#3 – Netbiz. My interview here lasted exactly ninety seconds.
They were interviewing for someone to work in a cube cold-calling out of the phone book all day. Can I do that? Absolutely. Do I want to?
No, I was applying for a different position altogether. But the hiring manager was promoted out of the cold-calling room, and when she used those same techniques to close me on coming in for an interview, I agreed. One foot in the door couldn’t hurt, after all.
Or so I thought.
The interview began, and the hiring manager took out a script and started reading from it. (Seriously? You couldn’t even memorize it?) To paraphrase:
The position we’re hiring for is a cold calling position. You will be calling people and saying ‘Hello, this is Netbiz.com calling, an authorized partner of Google, and we’re looking to put a plumber on the top page of google search rankings in your area. Are you interested?’ Do you think you can do that?
“Yes,” I said. “I’ve run calling rooms like this before.” Having seen their operation, it is well-run, not nearly as boiler-roomie as other’s I’ve been in.
“Great,” she said. “Would you have any problem with working on the phone all day, every day?”
“Yes,” I said. “If you look at my resume, you’ll see that my talents extend beyond just making sales. I’m actually applying for the–”
“Great, thanks so much for your time,” she said, and walked out the door.
I had to admire her sales ethic as she went straight to the next interview. Qualifying questions are built to weed out prospects that will waste your time, but I’d never seen this level of sales efficiency applied to hiring before.
As I left, I realized I could have talked myself into that job. I could easily have crushed it there, albeit unhappily and poorly paid. If getting any job immediately was my greatest concern, then I would trap myself into the lowest common denominator between what I can do and what is available.
That’s just not my path. I’ve got bigger things to do, so instead of agreeing to spend half my waking hours tied to a telephone, I went out and caught a train.